Thursday, May 29, 2008

children of two races

I read this article today on MSN and found it thought-provoking as a mom of biracial children. I maybe have been a little naive in my thinking that my children would be able to embrace both of their cultures on an equal level but maybe now is the time to think about how to make that possible for them. Does anyone have any thoughts on this issue?


Mom said...

Maybe I'm naive, but I think it's different in Canada than the US, especially with mixed Asian-Caucasian families on the West Coast. I wouldn't be surprised though if your girls find they have a tendency to prefer one identity over another, just like the kids in our family have different preferences of thinking of themselves as Americans or Canadians. Which tendency do you have, and why? Is it because of your younger childhood, or because of the experiences you had since you were a teenager/adult?

Henri said...

I don't think it's possible for anyone to truly have a neutral opinion towards multiple countries.

I base my opinion mostly on the fact we live in a media saturated world, where any country we live in tells us over and over how much they are "better" then all others.

It's sad, since really.. as Christians we are citizens primarily in a different kingdom and thus we should be able to get along equally well (or poorly?) in any earthly country since our focus and "I belong to" mindset is elsewhere.

That being said, I also think language is a HUGE factor in how a child (or adult) perceives themselves. I will never consider myself as "French", even though I am more French then Canadian since both sides of my family are from here. Without the ability to truly 'speak' and 'understand' French, it's impossible to fully embrace the subtle keys of what makes a person "French".

Hope that makes sense.

Christelle said...

Hi Sarah! Thanks for your inducement advice on my blog :) About your blog topic, I bought the book "Does Anyone Else Look Like Me" which addresses many issues bi-racial/bi-cultural children face at different ages. I always liked that my grandmother was from Holland and told people that I was "a quarter Dutch" and added in my other Irish and Scottish backgrounds too. I hope my kids will be proud of their heritage and feel privileged by it rather than burdened. I have a feeling that might be easier in Canada than here, but I could be wrong. My husband has a unique perspective in that he is 100 percent Japanese but is often mistaken for a "half" or a foreigner. When I tell him of my worries about our children "standing out" here etc. he says to leave the "kokoro no care" to him cause he knows how it feels (and he's Japanese!). And even if there are times when our kids are young that they resent their background, we're gonna do our best to make sure that they appreciate it when they are older, the language skills, the richness of two cultures, the opportunities of two countries. It's not the same thing, but I hated being a redhead when I was a kid, (as most redheads do) but now I love it, partially because it is a more unique colour and I like being a more unique person. I hope I can pass that value on to my kids, the wonderfulness of carving out your own identity and uniqueness and being a citizen of the world too!

Anonymous said...

Aunty Alynne asked a question i've been wondering about as well. I actually don't even know if you are Canadian or American, but what do you consider yourself? I also never thought of your kids as biracial either? For some reason I just kinda thought of them as yours? I really have nothing important to comment on here since I am fully Canadian so i have no views really on anything else, but I am very proud of it and I think your children will be very proud of both their backgrounds because that is how you will raise them. They will know they don't have to hide anything because they are very lucky to have two cultures, and they will show that to their children no matter what culture they marry into!

Ri-chan said...

Hi! Just dropped by your blog today, and I guess it's a bit late in the race, but your blog is so interesting, and I thought I might be able to add something. :)
As a product of a bi-cultural (Swedish/American) relationship, I've always favoured one nationality/culture over the other. Although I've lived in a lot of different countries, I've never lived in the US - but my English is stronger than my Swedish - yet Sweden is the culture/country I embrace over the US. Feeling like I truly belong to both is tough if you consider a lot of the cultural factors you gain growing up in one place over another. It can sometimes be hard to relate...but then again, it's often quite superficial stuff.

Having said all that, I think the importance lies more in teaching and appreciating the respective differences and likenesses that each culture has. Being able to pick and choose the best parts of each culture is an amazing advantage! Whether it pans out equally or not isn't important, as long as both are accepted for what they are, and that both are a part of you. :)

Oh gosh, I'm not sure any of this made sense, but thank you for an interesting blog anyway! All the best,